Debriefing: Satellite Tours

An additional degree of freedom when travelling was the use of “satellite tours” where a stop would be used as a starting point for a longer tour, with an intermediate base. This meant carrying less luggage to the intermediate point, but it also required a good deal of planning and organisation.

A classical tour, such as the Dusky Track, required only a place to leave most of the luggage, while taking only what was absolutely necessary (for eight days!) on the tour. Since the starting point was Te Anau, and most accommodation hosts there are used to dealing with tourists going on longer or shorter tours, then it was just a question of asking whether storage facilities were available. At Steamers Beach/Lakeview Holiday Park, a vehicle can be parked safely for $10, and another $10 will get you a locker for as long as you need it. Everything else was packed into the backpack weighing in @ 18 kg for the tour.

The first real satellite tour, however, had already been undertaken on Stewart Island. Here the idea was to spend one night in the secondary base at Oban before beginning and after ending the tramp across the island. This would mean leaving a small bag with some fresh clothes at the hostel in Oban, as well as leaving the main suitcase in Invercargill. As there is a strict weight limit on luggage on the plane (15 kg) some of the tramping food would have to be bought in Oban (not much more expensive than the mainland, but anyhow). And this is how it went: Read more…

54. Auckland – Doha – Frankfurt – Hannover: Homeward bound

Wednesday, April 5: Auckland – Sunny to begin with, then clouding over, rain starting at the bus stop and then just becoming stronger

Was up around 8:00, and Tracy had already left & left a note for me. Breakfast was time to consume everything that was left over: OJ, milk (condensed and fresh) for the coffee, the yoghurt. Then it was time for the final packing.

And that proceeded step by step. The computer was left running until deemed absolutely necessary for it to join everything else in the suitcase. The main concern was the weather: Although it was fine to begin with, rain was forecast for later and I didn’t want “later” to mean when I was trekking up to the bus stop on Mokoia Road. Read more…

53. Auckland: The last full day

Tuesday, April 4: A few showers in the morning, developing into heavy rain by evening

Walking: 8.3 km

Tracy’s

Tracy left for work a bit later this morning and I must have only just missed her. Breakfast was the rest of the sausages with tomato sauce on toast, one piece of toast with vegemite, OJ, and coffee. Bit by bit all the stuff is being used up.

Decided to time a trip to the supermarket and bought some stuff to take back (maccaroni & cheese). Back for lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches, mandarines & Tracy’s muffin (which finished off all of those things) then a decision had to be made about transport tomorrow. In the end Sky Bus won out, although it will be touch & go as to how to get to the initial bus stop tomorrow morning. One very small load of washing was done and clothes were presorted into those being thrown away. With the washing precariously drying in the garage I went off to the Highbury shops to print out the bus ticket and the QR itinerary (just in case), stop off for one last (huge!) hokey pokey at the Mokoia General Store for $2.5 (Moore Ice Creams, apparently award-winning) and throw the clothes into a clothes bin at a strategically placed bus stop. A bit of rain prevented me from returning immediately and I got back just in time for the rain to start in earnest. Read more…

52. Auckland – Skeptics in the Pub

Monday, April 3: A little cloudy and changeable, quite hot in the afternoon sun; heavy rain predicted for the evening

Walking: 22.3 km

Tracy’s

Tracy had to get up early for work and by the time I was awake I could hear the garage door go up and the car start. Day for a real shave today, and then breakfast of the last of Tracy’s eggs, three breakfast sausages, all on toast, OJ, about ⅓ of the yoghurt, and coffee. Had a brief look on the net, but really wanted to get walking to Pak’n’save to see what their vegemite costs.

As I walked along Glenfield Rd couldn’t really identify where Archer Road left and continued on to the Glenfield Shopping Center and beyond before turning back and finding a bit of a map in the public library, and made my way back and eventually found the turnoff. Nice views of Rangitoto and downtown all the way. Reached the supermarket, but their price ($6.39) was more than I had in mind from New World, so I returned empty handed. As the whole trip had taken much more time than originally planned, and a bus was due in a couple of minutes, I waited for it to take me back to the Highbury shops. Read more…

51. Auckland

Sunday, April 2: Variable during the day with some showers in the evening

Walking: 12.4 km

Tracy’s

The computer had worked its way through two folders quite successfully and needed to reboot to get into winter time. I was up @ 7:30 after a little bit of a lie in and went down to cook one egg and a trio of sausages for breakfast in a titanium nowo pan that appeared to be invincible. Coffee had half condensed, half fresh milk in it, and with butter used liberally on the toast those two leftovers from the tramping kitchen may well be finished by Wednesday.

I secured the use of a garden hose and the deck with Tracy’s permission to spray my tent down with and it dried for a short while on the deck until the drizzle appeared to want to last longer, then I hung everything up in the garage. Tracy had left after a short time to attend a baby shower and I was left to my own devices, mainly putting together the new panorama (Blumine Island) and chatting with Rayna. Read more…

50. Nelson – Auckland

Saturday, April 1: Nelson: Overcast
Auckland: Fine & warm with some high clouds

Walking: 8.1 km

Tracy’s (airbnb, $50)

Perhaps the last wakening at 7:30 summer time. Breakfast was the remainder of the crumpets with vegemite, some coffee with milk out of Genie’s fridge, and then the work of packing had to be done. Almost everything fit into where it should and Genie’s scales gave a reading of just under 20 kg for the suitcase (with more clothes to be discarded) and just over 7 for the backpack. Everything was checked and double-checked, the flat locked up and the keys in their hiding place, and I was on the street waiting for the Super Shuttle with 30 minutes to spare. The only thing that didn’t seem to work out was deleting played podcasts from the ipod (impossible; the podcasts have to be deleted from the master list first and then the ipod has to be synced, which might have triggered World War 3, i.e. the loss of all of the old podcasts that would then have to be downloaded again). Listening to the podcasts out on the street it occurred to me that having the pocket knife and the scissors in the backpack was probably not such a good idea, even if security at Nelson was going to be fairly laid back, so those were transferred to the suitcase without much of a problem. Read more…

49. Picton – Nelson

Friday, March 31: Some remnants of cloud in the hills in Picton, becoming sunny and rather warm

Genie’s

The hostel was rather quiet last night with very few guests; at around 4:00 when I got up to go to the loo, one of Nikki’s bread machines was making a lot of noise and she was up, too, to turn it off so that it didn’t wake any other guests. Regular waking was around 7:30, and breakfast was three of the crumpets that I had bought last night with vegemite, coffee, and grape juice from Nikki. I was chatting with the American, Dave, who was also leaving on the midday bus.

I was out of my room @ 10:00 and proceeded to check the internet for anything I had forgotten yesterday. Itunes took up a lot of time and the result on the ipod was less than satisfactory but it will have to do for the trip. I saw that the university sports centre back in Hannover now had a sea kayaking group (Tuesday evenings, so finding time for swimming practice will be a bit of a challenge) instead of flatwater paddling, so I guess that is what I will have to take. Around 12:00 Dave turned up from wherever it was he had been & we loaded up our backpacks and headed for the ferry terminal. Read more…

42. Nelson – Picton

Friday, March 24: Cloudy pretty much the whole day

Jugglers’ Rest, 8 Canterbury St., Picton, double room as single ($60, BBH)

The alarm actually went off @ 7:00 and the rest of the stuff was fairly easily packed away into two backpacks, the smaller one with the computer and the clothes, so that will be the satellite for this tour. Genie was up somewhat later and I had found everything for breakfast before she appeared for a shower. I gave her a copy of the book and after a short discussion of the room I grabbed my stuff, packed it into her car and we were at the bus stop @ around 8:45.

The bus driver was already loading passengers so I immediately had my stuff stowed away and chose a seat up front for the journey, and started on consuming some now month old podcasts. A couple of extra stops around town netted very few extra passengers and it was only after that were we onto the main road, some corners of which I actually recognised from 2009 or 2013. A bit of construction work along the way and the stop in Blenheim was very short. We were just a bit late into Picton. Read more…

22. Te Anau

Saturday, March 4: Sunny with a few clouds about over the mountains and a string wind in the afternoon

Steamer’s Backpackers

The harder tasks were waiting this morning, as everything easier was disappearing. The library is open Saturdays from 10:00 to 3:00 so that enabled two sessions of relatively fast internet after the breakfast of OJ, two toasted cheese sandwiches and coffee had been dealt with. Met Shoko as she was waiting for her bus which would eventually take her back to Auckland. I let the spot tracker run a full course of 20 minutes, but apart from the ‘OK’ button turning off after that time, nothing much happened.

First task on the net was to get transport to the bus station, which eventually worked. Copied the bus times & destinations in Dunedin into a text file and I hope that at least that action would make me remember them. St Clair Hot Saltwater Pool looks inviting for some time next week. Read more…

1. Auckland – Christchurch – Invercargill

Saturday, February 11: Sunny in Auckland & Christchurch, variable cloud around and fairly warm, high clouds in Invercargill

Randa’s ($50, airbnb)

For the final couple of hours I managed three episodes of Attenborough’s Planet Earth II. Nice pictures, but apart from the repetitious test to the point of being cliched, there was something worrying about Attenborough’s treatment of competition, which didn’t appear to be conceptually uniform. Nor was his use of contact clauses, by the way, with one or two being quite pithy and the remainder fell into the category of up with which I will not put.

Only really missed out on Mars, but not sure whether that would have been missing out on much. But it did occur to me that the Gemini story had led indirectly to massive improvements in civil aviation, if not civilian space travel or even space tourism. Read more…